Unit History



Brief History of the 504th PIR

 

 

May 1, 1942-                     504th PIR activated at Fort Benning, Georgia

 

August 15, 1942-                504th PIR assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division

 

April 29, 1943-                   504th PIR embarked for ETO on the troopship GEORGE
                                        WASHINGTON

 

May 10, 1943-                    504th PIR landed at Casablanca, North Africa. Moved
                                         inland via train to
base camp at Oujda, Algeria.

 

July 9, 1943-                     3rd Battalion attached to 505th PIR for first wave of
                                        assault on Sicily,
Operation HUSKY I.

 

 

July 10, 1943-                  Regiment alerted for drop in Sicily as part of Operation
                                        HUSKY II. 
Regiment was mobilized, outfitted and
                                        prepped in under ten hours. First
and Second
                                        Battalions constituted the second wave of the
                                        airborne
assault. 23 planes of the 504 flight shot
                                        down by Allied naval gunners
who believed these
                                        flights were German bombers.  Drop zone for
surviving
                                        aircraft was Gela, Sicily.  Following operations,
                                        Regiment
returned to Tunisia.

 

September 14, 1943-         504th PIR dropped at Paestrum, Italy in support of 5th
                                                
Army invasion of
Italian mainland at about 1:30AM. 
                                      
Operation AVALANCE. (Elements of
3/504 landed in
                                      amphibious assault at Salerno on 11 September).

 

September-

  December, 1943-             504 RCT fought in mountains of Italy as regular ground
                                        troops.

 

October 1, 1943-               504th PIR entered Naples.

 

January 22, 1944-              504 RCT made amphibious landing at Anzio from LCI’s.

 

January-

   March 25, 1944-             504 RCT committed as regular ground troops on Anzio
                                        
beachhead.

 

April 10, 1944-                   504th PIR embarked for England on the CAPETOWN
                                        
CASTLE
to rejoin
the rest of the 82nd Airborne which
                                        had been pulled out of Italy to train
for Operation
                                        OVERLORD.

 

April 22, 1944-                   504th PIR arrived in Liverpool, England and moved by
                                        train to base
camp in Leicester.

 

Early May, 1944-                Due to shortage of aircraft and the necessity to train
                                        the large number
of replacements for losses in Italy,
                                        504 RCT is not committed to
Operation OVERLORD and
                                        assigned as strategic reserve.  26 men are
selected
                                        to act as security detachments for 507th and 508
th
                                                  
PIR
Pathfinder teams.

 

September 17, 1944-         1st Allied Airborne Army Operation MARKET-GARDEN,
                                        Holland.  504
drop zone was at Overasselt.  1st
                                                  
Battalion captured bridge #7.
Germans destroyed
                                        bridge #8.  2nd Battalion captured bridge over
the
                                        Maas near Grave intact.  504’s missions accomplished
                                        within four
hours after landing.

 

September 20, 1944-         504 PIR alerted for amphibious crossing of the Waal
                                        
River
to capture
the two vital Nijmegen bridges. 
                                        
3/504 made the initial assault
supported by 1/504 and
                                        regimental headquarters.  Both the railroad
and
                                        highway bridges captured intact.

 

November 13, 1944-           Regiment relieved on the line by Canadian 8th Brigade. 
                                        
Removed to
new base camp at Sissone, France.

 

December 20, 1944-           In response to the German offensive in the Ardennes,
                                        504th PIR moved
to Werbomont, Belgium.  1/504
                                        proceeded from Werbomont to
Cheneux.  There they
                                        destroyed a battalion of the 1st SS Panzer
Grenadier
                                        Regiment.

 


April 6, 1945-                    “A” Company ordered to cross the Rhine River to attack
                                        and occupy
Hitdorf, Germany.  Landing effected at
                                        0230.  Engaged enemy force
estimated at regimental
                                        strength.

 

May 3, 1945-                     “I” Company patrol met Russian troops in town of
                                         Eldenburg,
Germany.

 

May 8, 1945-                     Germany surrendered.

 

 

May 9, 1945-                     V-E Day.

 



I Company, 504th PIR, ca. 1945
Captain T. Moffatt Burriss, commanding.

 

 

 

504th PIR Firsts

 

 

-More combat days than any other airborne regiment in the Allied armies (over 325).

 

-First Allied troops to enter Sicily, July 9, 1943.

 

-First parachute troops to jump in Italy.

 

-First Allied troops to enter Naples.

 

-First Allied troops through the German mountain strongholds north of Venafro.

 

-First to win a Presidential Unit Citation on the Anzio beachhead.

 

-First to jump in the airborne invasion of Holland, followed by the capture of the
    longest span bridge
in Europe.

 

-First to make an assault crossing of the Rhine River (504th men crossed the Waal   
    
the Lower
Rhine—at Nijmegen, Holland, in September 1944.

 

-First to stop von Rundtstedt’s forces in the Battle of the Bulge.

 

-First through the Siegfried Line in the Allies’ spring offensive.